Passage: Proverbs 7, 8, 9 (RSV)

Proverbs 7

1My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you;
2keep my commandments and live, keep my teachings as the apple of your eye;
3bind them on your fingers, write them on the tablet of your heart.
4Say to wisdom, "You are my sister," and call insight your intimate friend;
5to preserve you from the loose woman, from the adventuress with her smooth words.
6For at the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice,
7and I have seen among the simple, I have perceived among the youths, a young man without sense,
8passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house
9in the twilight, in the evening, at the time of night and darkness.
10And lo, a woman meets him, dressed as a harlot, wily of heart.
11She is loud and wayward, her feet do not stay at home;
12now in the street, now in the market, and at every corner she lies in wait.
13She seizes him and kisses him, and with impudent face she says to him:
14"I had to offer sacrifices, and today I have paid my vows;
15so now I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you.
16I have decked my couch with coverings, colored spreads of Egyptian linen;
17I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
18Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love.
19For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey;
20he took a bag of money with him; at full moon he will come home."
21With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him.
22All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast
23till an arrow pierces its entrails; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life.
24And now, O sons, listen to me, and be attentive to the words of my mouth.
25Let not your heart turn aside to her ways, do not stray into her paths;
26for many a victim has she laid low; yea, all her slain are a mighty host.
27Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death.

Proverbs 8

1Does not wisdom call, does not understanding raise her voice?
2On the heights beside the way, in the paths she takes her stand;
3beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud:
4"To you, O men, I call, and my cry is to the sons of men.
5O simple ones, learn prudence; O foolish men, pay attention.
6Hear, for I will speak noble things, and from my lips will come what is right;
7for my mouth will utter truth; wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
8All the words of my mouth are righteous; there is nothing twisted or crooked in them.
9They are all straight to him who understands and right to those who find knowledge.
10Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold;
11for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.
12I, wisdom, dwell in prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion.
13The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.
14I have counsel and sound wisdom, I have insight, I have strength.
15By me kings reign, and rulers decree what is just;
16by me princes rule, and nobles govern the earth.
17I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.
18Riches and honor are with me, enduring wealth and prosperity.
19My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold, and my yield than choice silver.
20I walk in the way of righteousness, in the paths of justice,
21endowing with wealth those who love me, and filling their treasuries.
22The LORD created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old.
23Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
24When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water.
25Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth;
26before he had made the earth with its fields, or the first of the dust of the world.
27When he established the heavens, I was there, when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
28when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep,
29when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
30then I was beside him, like a master workman; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always,
31rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the sons of men.
32And now, my sons, listen to me: happy are those who keep my ways.
33Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it.
34Happy is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors.
35For he who finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD;
36but he who misses me injures himself; all who hate me love death."

Proverbs 9

1Wisdom has built her house, she has set up her seven pillars.
2She has slaughtered her beasts, she has mixed her wine, she has also set her table.
3She has sent out her maids to call from the highest places in the town,
4"Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!" To him who is without sense she says,
5"Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed.
6Leave simpleness, and live, and walk in the way of insight."
7He who corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
8Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
9Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man and he will increase in learning.
10The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
11For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life.
12If you are wise, you are wise for yourself; if you scoff, you alone will bear it.
13A foolish woman is noisy; she is wanton and knows no shame.
14She sits at the door of her house, she takes a seat on the high places of the town,
15calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way,
16"Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!" And to him who is without sense she says,
17"Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant."
18But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.

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